Epistle to the Philippians in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

INTERNAL EVIDENCE. The style, thought, and doctrine agree with Paul's. The incidental allusions confirm his authorship. Paley (Hor. Paul. 7) instances the mention of the object of Epaphroditus' journey to Rome, his sickness; the Philippian contribution to Paul's wants (Philemon 1:7; Philemon 2:25-30; Philemon 4:10-18); Timothy's having been long with Paul at Philippi (Philemon 1:1; Philemon 2:19); Paul's being for long a prisoner at Rome (Philemon 1:12-14; Philemon 2:17-28); his willingness to die for Christ (Philemon 1:23, compare 2 Corinthians 5:8); the Philippians having seen his maltreatment at Philippi (Philemon 1:29-30; Philemon 2:1-2). EXTERNAL EVIDENCE. Polycarp (ad Philipp. 3 and 11, A.D. 107); so that Christians who heard Paul's epistle read for the first time may have spoken with Polycarp. Marcion in Tertullian (A D. 140) acknowledges its authenticity. So the Muratorian Fragment; Irenaeuns (adv. Haer, 4:18, section 4); Clemens Alex. (Paedagog. 1, 1:10); the epistle to the churches of Lyons and Vienne (A. D. 177) in Eusebius (H. E., 5:2); Tertullian (Resurr. Carnis, 23); Origen (Celsus, 1, 3:122); Cyprian (Testim. against the Jews, 3:39). OBJECT. To thank them for contributions sent by Epaphroditus, who in returning takes back the epistle. Also to express Christian sympathy, and to exhort to imitation of Christ in humility and lowly love, instead of existing dissensions, as between Euodias and Syntyche (Philemon 4:2), and to warn against Judaizers. In this epistle alone are no positive censures; no doctrinal error or schism had as yet sprung up. DIVISIONS. I. Address: his state as a prisoner, theirs, his sending Epaphroditus to them (Philippians 1; 2). Epaphroditus probably was a presbyter of the Philippian church, who cheered Paul in iris imprisonment by bringing the Philippian token of love and liberality. By the fatigues of the journey that "brother, companion in labour, and fellow soldier" brought on himself dangerous sickness (Philemon 2:25-30). But now being well he "longed" to return to his Philippian flock and relieve them of their anxiety about him. So Paul takes the opportunity of sending an epistle by him. II. Caution against Judaizers, contrasting his own former legalism with his present following Christ as his all (Philippians 3)...

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